oil pressure light - dealer finds no fault - next steps?

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by ultrachrome, May 7, 2013.

  1. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    2011 KTM 990 SMT, 11k miles.

    Riding home from work last week, my oil pressure light came on. I pulled over and called my dealer for advice. They said ride it home (~5 miles).

    After continuing, I noticed it would go on and off, staying off for as long as a mile, and at one point, it flickered in time with bumpy pavement.

    The coolant overflow tank level is unchanged and my oil change from a few months ago suggested no water pump issues. I looked at the sensor connector and was able to reach in and seat the connector about another 1/8".

    Rode the bike 3/4 mile to the gas station with no light (yay!) but on the way back it started flickering again (boo!).

    For obvious reasons, I've been afraid to ride it and so other than bumps, I've not figured out whether it's influenced by throttle opening or RPM.

    I dropped it off at the dealer on Friday and today they called to inform that after riding it, they were unable to get the light to come on.

    My warranty ends in a little over a month so if this is a serious issue I want to get it diagnosed ASAP. Any ideas?
    #1
  2. Mr_Snips

    Mr_Snips Husky BRAAAAAAAAP!

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    Oil level? And check valve
    #2
  3. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    Oil level is fine. More info on check valve?
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  4. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    assuming you've already done basics like another new oil filter, clean screens if any, made sure oil pressure switch is not smashed, etc. etc.

    unscrew your pressure switch, hook up a quality oil pressure gauge. verify actual oil pressures ...
    #4
  5. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    We have a one-month-old child so my first priority was to get it to the dealer. Sourcing a "quality oil pressure gauge" is likely to chew up a lot of time that I don't have having never shopped for or fitted one before.

    I certainly like the idea of an actual oil pressure gauge for the long term but I don't have the room to mount the typical 2" gauges I've seen so far.

    I'm mainly looking for tactics to enable the dealer to find and correct the fault before my warranty expires.
    #5
  6. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    you asked what to do next ... installing a pressure gauge tells if there is actual oil pressure problems and/or a faulty switch. it's not meant to be permanent
    #6
  7. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    I understand, appreciate and agree with your original comment and I'm actively looking at gauges. However, I was trying to avoid tearing down the bike to that degree given my time constraints.
    #7
  8. gefr

    gefr Life is a trip

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    If there is milky residue, this indicates wp failure. Next step is laying your bike on the side and removing oil filter. Wavy filter lines indicate wp failure with certainty. Also cluttering of the valves is a strong indication of obstructed oil circulation.
    Cheers.
    #8
  9. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    I've not removed the clutch cover. Will I have to replace a gasket if I pull it?
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  10. el queso

    el queso toda su base

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    Sounds like you're already going this route, but get it to the dealer before the warranty expires and they should be able to fix it. If not I would assume KTM would consider it a continuing issue which would be covered by the warranty.

    With a newborn at home, you have better things to do...
    #10
  11. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob

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    Could be a bad sender. A new one is very cheap, like under $15. Just swap it out.

    A real pressure gage is a better idea though.
    #11
  12. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer

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    No. It's a reasonably robust rubber gasket.
    Mine's been off thrice in 50k miles,...still looks new :nod
    #12
  13. SRG

    SRG SRG

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    You should not have to diagnose the problem. The bike is under warranty. You have done what you should have by letting the dealer know there is a problem (within the warranty period). The dealer needs to figure it out.

    Can you imagine your grandmother buying a new Ford, having the check engine light come on and the it being somehow her job to figure out what's the fault?

    You have notified the dealer there is a problem within the warranty period - you are covered. If you don't trust them to take care of you that's a different problem.
    #13
  14. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Keep your paperwork from that dealer visit. Hopefully they notated that they felt there is no problem. If not get them to do so.
    #14
  15. MOLAHS

    MOLAHS Sisyphus

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    Have you checked the oil filter ? My 990SD had the same symptoms and the cause was a non-oem oil filter. It had similar distortion as that caused by coolant in the oil. The KTM mechanic said he'd seen this occur a few times with non-oem oil filters. We put in an oem filter and problem went and didn't reoccur.
    #15
  16. uk_mouse

    uk_mouse Aquatic adventurer

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    The simple way to diagnose a true oil pressure problem is this - is it making a noise like a bag of spanners?

    If you really have low oil pressure the cam chains will make a horrible racket. You can't mistake it.

    I suspect the fault here is bad wiring or a bad sensor. A broken wire would mean the light would never illuminate, so the most likely culprit is the sensor. They are really cheap, as someone said above, but awkward to fit.
    #16
  17. woodchuckexc

    woodchuckexc Been here awhile

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    I'm saying water pump. Just had same issue. Hard to tell by the oil as most of the coolant burns off. Pull your oil filter and take it for a ride. I'll bet problem is solved
    #17
  18. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    I picked it up on Friday after they could find no problem. I've put about 50 miles on it with no oil light.

    At the very least I have a video of it doing it and paper work that shows I took it to the dealer.

    I've got a few maintenance items to cover this weekend. I'll probably pull the oil filter. I understand I can do that and only lose a few cups of oil, correct?

    I'd really like to add a gauge since the water pump is bound to go sooner or later but still trying to figure out where I'd mount it. The SMT lacks much of a dash.
    #18
  19. ciedema

    ciedema мотоциклист

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    Put it on enough of an angle and would lose any.
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  20. Gabby

    Gabby Been here awhile

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    Thank god for this thread. I recently had to replace the countershaft on my 990. That job in itself was bad enough, but when I went to fire it up, the chains clattered, oil light flickered, etc. Anyway, I said WTF? This wasn't my first rebuild, not by a long shot. I checked everything I could short of pulling the engine and starting over, when I finally saw this thread. Last night I said "what the hell" and pulled the filter. Problem solved. I tried to blow back through the filter and it was almost impossible. It was a K&N filter. I had a HF (which I though was the same filter just different name), and the media was a different color. I installed it and so far all is well. A Scotts or KTM filter will be installed shortly. Oh, the waterpump was recently rebuilt and is still fine, that wasn't the problem.
    #20